As natural resources exploration is pushed further into remote locations which are difficult to access, mining companies are challenged to move the resources from their source to their final destination, cost-effectively, and sustainably.

An engineer’s creativity and ability to challenge the “status quo”, as well as their work experience are essential for identifying appropriate technologies and methods for specific project conditions and for overcoming obstacles in the transportation logistics systems.

It is of paramount importance that these systems take into consideration the community, environmental effects, and costs. Trade-off studies and the use of dynamic simulation models are beneficial as they qualify alternatives as well as the risks associated with each scenario.

Detailed assessments made during the early stages of the design process help to forecast costs, and to understand the environmental and social impacts of the project. Detailed evaluation of the design promotes accountability of all parties involved, and gives an opportunity to explore and exhaust different scenarios. Every logistics transportation system should be carefully examined, and a “Listen-Think-Design” approach should be taken to select a unique solution for the project.

An holistic view – one that looks at the entire transport method from loading a truck, conveyor or train at the mine to the shipping operation at the port - is the most effective approach for designing the infrastructure to support the logistics. The “pit to port” design enables the project team to identify an optimum solution adapted to the specific needs of a mining project, the community, and the environment.

A recent “pit to port” project included an assessment to determine the ideal logistics transportation system for a large copper mine project in the Philippines. Through simulation, we compared the use of trucks (and various payload capacities) vs pipeline systems to move the product from mine to port. Results indicated that the use of a trucking system to transport the product from the mine to the storage building at the port, proved to be the most economical solution for the project, as well as the combination of trucks and mobile equipment for use during ship loading operations.

If you have any questions on how to determine an ideal “pit to port” solution, please contact us.